Dear Industry Colleagues,

This monthly letter is being written at a time when I am at the point of completing the great majority of my ASA presidential duties. 

All I can say is how time flies! Throughout 2014, I embarked on several busy weeks of travel which involved representing ASA at a series of industry events throughout the country.  As my ASA presidential predecessors can tell you, this involves providing association updates at various regional meetings, including gatherings of the Midwest Distributors Association, the Wholesalers Association of the North East, the North Central Wholesalers Association, the Southern Wholesalers Association, the Western Suppliers Association and others. 

In addition, by the time this letter is printed NetworkASA 2014 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas will have been completed; also a busy time. While these are not only some of the busiest times in the life of every ASA president, they also are some of the most rewarding. I would personally like to thank everyone for their support throughout these past several months. This was valuable time well-spent and most certainly a positive reflection on where we are headed as an association.

Perhaps one of my most rewarding trips of the year so far was to Milwaukee to take part in the ASA Young Executives’ Annual Spring Forum. This group of up-and-coming industry leaders has met each spring for many years, sharing thoughts and ideas with their peers, working to achieve common goals, learning from subject-matter experts and each other, and managing to have some fun in the process. 

At this year’s event, we had 128 total attendees representing 35 wholesalers, 27 manufacturers/vendors, 12 independent manufacturers representative firms and staff from two industry buying groups. This is a 180% increase in attendance since a new format for the program was introduced back in 2008.

At the many events I have attended throughout 2014, it has been reinforced to me quite clearly that one thing is for certain; those of us in the PHCP and PVF business can proudly say we continue to be part of a relationship-based industry. In a communication-hungry world filled with Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the need for instantaneous communication in all aspects of our lives, it is refreshing to see that we still value the face-to-face relationship.

 I began attending ASA meetings many years ago and continue to have regular conversations with many of the people I met at those meetings. I thought a lot about that while in attendance at the Young Executives’ Spring Forum.  Many of the attendees were meeting each other for the first time. Hopefully, they will look back several years down the road and say the same thing that I can about those I have met throughout my career in this industry.

In today’s unbelievably fast-paced world, we should regularly remind ourselves to take a few important things into consideration. Our business relationships, for instance, are a constant that we should nurture and care for regularly, regardless of how busy we are. 

Without them, our industry just wouldn’t be the same.